DU Student Rape: Protests rage on
Aged between 25 and 30; height around five and a half feet; tan complexion; short hair; and clad in an old pair of jeans and a dirty black jacket.
This is how the second-year Dhaka University student, who was raped near the capital’s Kurmitola General Hospital on Sunday night, described the rapist in her statement to a law enforcement agency.
Based on the statement, the law enforcers made a sketch of the culprit and were trying to identify and arrest him. They were also analysing the footage of the CCTVs installed in the area near the crime scene, said police and Rab sources.
In the latest development, several media outlets early today reported that a suspect was identified and kept under watch by a law enforcement agency. No other details were provided immediately.
Yesterday, students continued demonstrations for the second straight day, demanding the rapist be arrested immediately. They demonstrated at DU and many other educational institutions in others districts.
The Detective Branch of police is investigating the case. Several other police units were assisting with the investigation, said Sudip Chakraborty, deputy commissioner (Gulshan Division) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Talking to The Daily Star, Lt Col Sarwar Bin Quashem, director of Rab’s legal and media wing, said arresting the rapist was their top priority. “Several of our teams are working,” he said.
National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Nasima Begum yesterday visited the victim, 21, at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s One-stop Crisis Centre, where she was undergoing treatment.
Talking to reporters later, the NHRC chief said the victim would be able to identify her rapist, if she saw him again.
Nasima demanded the culprit’s immediate arrest and exemplary punishment.
She also praised the victim for showing intelligence by not removing any evidence and added that it should not be difficult to identify the rapist through DNA matching.
Asked about the victim, DMCH Director Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin said her condition improved yesterday. He also said she was being treated by a seven-member medical board.
The rape took place while the victim was walking from Kurmitola bus stop to a friend’s house in nearby Sheora area around 7:30pm on Sunday. She had just got off a university bus.
The rapist grabbed her from behind, gagged her and took her to an isolated place nearby. She was raped and tortured there, said some of her friends, quoting her.
Her friends took her to the DMCH in the early hours of Monday.
As the day progressed, the DU erupted in protest. Hundreds of students, irrespective of their political affiliations, demonstrated throughout the day, demanding justice for the victim.
The victim’s father filed a rape case with Cantonment Police Station. The case statements say the rapist also snatched the victim’s cell phone and Tk 2,000.
The protests continued yesterday. Students formed human chains, held protest rallies, and paint graffiti on roads to press home their demand.
Covering faces with black cloth, around 50 DU Bangla department students formed a human chain in front of Raju Memorial Sculpture on the campus around 10:30am.
They demanded capital punishment for the rapist and urged the university administration to ensure security for all its students.
Later around noon, students of the university’s political science department formed a human chain there.
The demonstrators also burned an effigy of the rapist.
At another human chain nearby, members of different cultural organisations demanded immediate steps to ensure women’s safety in the capital and elsewhere.
Fine Arts students painted graffiti on the street from near the gate of Ruqayyah Hall to Raju Memorial Sculpture in the TSC area.
During the protests, DU Chhatra League General Secretary Saddam Hussain, also assistant general secretary of Ducsu, said they submitted a memorandum to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Monday night, demanding that the culprit be identified in 24 hours.
He warned that they would march towards the home ministry if the rapist was not arrested soon.
Yesterday, hundreds of other students gathered near the Ruqayyah Hall. Many of them held placards demanding punishment for the culprit.
Meanwhile, four DU students, who went on a hunger strike on Monday demanding the rapist’s arrest, withdrew the strike last night after DU Vice Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman assured them of immediate steps.
“If justice is not done, I myself will start a hunger strike,” he told the students near the Raju Memorial Sculpture around 10:30pm.
At Jahangirnagar University, members of Chhatra League, left-leaning student organisations and quota reformists brought out separate processions on the campus, demanding justice for the DU student.
In Barishal, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front and Samajtantrik Mahila Forum formed a human chain in front of Ashwini Kumar Hall in the city.
Students in Narayanganj also formed human chain in several places of the city.